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Roberto Borrell, Director

New York Times review

Cuba Danzon '98

Orquesta la Moderna Tradicion

"Probably the only orchestra of its kind outside of Cuba, Orquesta La Moderna Tradición (founded October 3rd, 1996) dedicates itself primarily to danzón, Cuba's national dance. This romantic, elegant parlor dance, in which couples move in a close embrace, has shaped Cuban music's evolution as truly as the better-known son, son montuno, rumba and Afro-cuban religious genres.

Performing and preserving classic and folkloric styles, with danzón leading the way, this 11-member group honors these traditions with crisp modern arrangements of classic pieces and original compositions."  -- from their web site at

Danzón was born in Matanzas of a blend of French-Haitian contradanza and AfroCuban percussion.  Matanzas is celebrating this year in November its Cuba Danzon festival.

Orquesta is co-directed by Roberto Borrell and Tregar Otton.  They have a great web site.

Schedule 2002 (updated 11/17/02)

11/21 & 11/22/02

Workshops in Cuban Music and Dance
Concert November 22

Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Geneva, New York

For more info email to:
Hobart And William Smith Colleges website:



SomArts Cultural Center
public transit / driving directions
934 Brannan Street (between 8th and 9th Streets), SF
3:30 pm to 7:00 pm (music starts at 4:00 pm)
For more info email to:


Sponsored by the Lodi Art's Council and Tanya and Ora Waters of Architectural Amenities. Tickets cost $20. To reserve tickets, call the Hutchins Street Square box office at (209) 339-8119

Hutchins Street Square
Kirst Hall
public transit / driving directions
125 S. Hutchins St., Lodi, CA
8:00 pm
Box Office: (209) 339-8119

4/13/02 - 4/14/02
4/20/02 - 4/21/02

Tickets will be available at BASS ticket outlets, $15 in advance, and $17 at the door.

Música Cubana: Roots to Timba

SomArts Cultural Center
public transit / driving directions
934 Brannan Street (between 8th and 9th Streets), SF
Saturday shows start at 8:00 pm
Sunday shows start at 4:00 pm
For more info email to:


Tickets cost $12 in advance and $15 at the door.
Tickets to show and dance party combined are $25.

SomArts Cultural Center
public transit / driving directions
934 Brannan Street (between 8th and 9th Streets), SF
Doors open at 7:30 pm, music starts at 8:00 pm
For more info email to:


Benefit for Park Day School
The Orquesta plays with Eddy Palmieri

Holiday Inn, Emeryville, California


  October 7th
Mr. E's in its new location, 7pm, Mariner Square, Alameda, CA
    October 19th
Downtown San Francisco, more info TBA on
    November 2nd
La Peña Cultural Center, Oakland, CA. Playing with Potaje and Flamenco Dancer La Tania.
    November 4th
Community Music Center, San Francisco. Playing with Potaje and Flamenco Dancer La Tania.


9/08/00 San Jose, CA The Agenda

(updated 8/9)

5/31/00 Berkeley, CA La Peña: 8 PM, $12 adv, $15 door
6/1/00 San Francisco, CA Justice League: 9:30 PM, $15 adv, $20 door
08/03/00 Telluride, CO Jazz Celebration
08/04/00 Telluride, CO Jazz Celebration
08/13/00 San Jose, CA San Jose Jazz Festival


7/21/99 Glenwood Spring, CO Summer of Jazz
7/22/99 Breckenridge, CO Riverwalk Center
7/15/99 San Jose, CA San Jose JazzFestival


International Film Festival closing night party, San Francisco

Custer Avenue Stages

May 6th, 1999
9:30 PM - 12:30AM


US Dates '98

Date City, State Venue

New York


New York

NY Lincoln Center

New York Times Review

A World of Difference via Cuba
by Peter Watrous, NYT, July 15, 1998

Monday night's double bill at S.O.B.'s, featuring two charanga orchestras, one from California and one from New Yor, was meant to be a face-off.  But the two bands -- charanga is a Cuban style of music that includes violin and flutes -- were so radically different that competition didn't exist, instead there was dancing, and a sense that under the banner of Afro-Cuban music, and specifically charanga, all sorts of music can exist.

...Orquesta La Moderna Tradicion comes from San Francisco and is led by Roberto Borrell on conga and Michael Spiro on timbales; the band, with two violins and a cello, looks to the past and is in some ways a repertory orchestra, playing danzon and older forms of Cuban music.... When the band hit the rocking montuno sections, it became stately in a different way, lifting off with improvisations and repetitions. ...The music became instense ...when it needed to get the dance grind going, it did.


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